You Shouldnt Ever Let A Newborn Cry It Out
Newborns use crying to communicate all of their needs. And, until theyve grown and developed , their cries are all very similar.
Often, they dont know whats wrong let alone how to communicate that its different than the last time they called for your help. Sure, some babies cries are distinctly different at a younger age. But some babies just scream and cry especially if they have colic.
These babies rely on physical comfort and touch to grow and develop. They cant differentiate that being allowed to cry at bedtime, as opposed to any other time, will benefit them.
Instead, a newborn will just scream until theyre helped and comforted. So letting a newborn cry it out wont work. Once a baby is about 4-6 months old, however, theyll have developed enough that sleep training is an option.
When To Call The Doctor
If your baby seems to be getting extremely worked up and/or is crying so much she’s getting sick, its worth checking in with your pediatrician to make sure there isnt another underlying medical problem and this method is right for you and your little one.
You should also ask for guidance if your baby doesnt respond to cry it out sleep training after about two weeks or so. Your doctor may be able to offer other tips to help both of you sleep better or steer you in a different direction.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
New Study Says That Its Okay To Let Babies Cry At Night
- By Claire McCarthy, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
ARCHIVED CONTENT: As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date each article was posted or last reviewed. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
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When my eldest was a baby, I remember feeling so torn when she cried during the night. Our pediatrician and my mother both said that it was okay to let her cry for a while and let her learn to go back to sleep. But as I listened to her cry, I wondered: Will this make her too stressed? Will it damage her emotionally? Will it ruin our relationship?
The answer to all of those questions, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, is no. Not only that, if Id done it , my daughter and I might have gotten a bunch more sleep.
To measure the effects on the babies, the researchers did something interesting: they measured the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the babies saliva. They also asked the mothers about their levels of stress. Twelve months later, they looked for any emotional or behavioral problems in the babies, and they also did testing to see how attached the babies were to their mothers.
We can get sleep and still have well-adjusted kids who love us. How great is that?
Your baby will be fine.
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Letting Older Children Cry It Out Isnt As Effective
Once your toddler is out of a crib and has begun communicating their opinions, cry it out becomes a less appealing option.
Why is that? Well, a toddler who isnt in a crib has more say in where they sleep. They dont always stay put.
Some of them will throw a pretty epic tantrum if allowed to cry themselves to sleep. In many cases, these kids will totally trash their bedroom as a way of expressing their outrage.
Plus, its a lot harder to hear a child crying it out when they can talk.
So letting an older child cry it out as a sleep training method isnt going to be as effective or as easy for anyone involved.
If youd like to know more about how to sleep train older kids, Ive got a whole guide for working with toddlers up through teenagers right here. There are actionable steps you can use today to make progress immediately.
When Should I Call My Child’s Healthcare Provider
Before assuming your child has colic, look for other signs of illness. These may include:
- Not sucking or drinking a bottle well
- Drinking less milk than usual
- Becoming more irritable when held or touched
- Having a strange-sounding cry
- Having a change in breathing rate or using extra effort to breathe
- Being more sleepy or sluggish than normal
- Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or as directed by your child’s healthcare provider
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Letting Baby Cry It Out Is Effective But Controversial
Have you ever asked other parents their opinion on crying it out? Opinions and anecdotal evidence are all over the map. After extensive research and surveying parents, heres what I can conclude: most parents agree that cry it out is effective. But not all parents think its a humane way to sleep train.
In fact, bringing up cry it out is far more likely to cause a long-winded argument between opinionated parents than it is to provide an open and helpful dialogue.
How Is Colic Diagnosed
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. You may be asked questions such as:
- How long and how often does your baby cry?
- Have you found anything that seems to trigger the crying?
- What comfort methods help to calm your baby, if any?
Blood tests and X-rays or other imaging tests may be done. These can help find out if your baby has other health problems.
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How Do You Get An Overtired Baby To Sleep
Try lots of reassurance : 1) Talk quietly and cuddle your baby until calm 2) Put your baby on their back in the cot awake 3) Comfort your baby with gentle ssshh sounds, gentle rhythmic patting, rocking or stroking until baby is calm or asleep.
Letting Baby Cry 6 Weeks
How long do you let baby cry before picking them up to comfort them? My husband says I don’t let my almost 6 week old cry enough and it’s my own fault that she doesn’t let my put her down much. I will let her cry for 5 minutes or so if I know that she isn’t hungry or needing changed, but after that I pick her up to get her to stop crying. Everything I’ve read says you can’t spoil a baby this young and that they can’t self soothe until 4 months. Am I doing it wrong? Because I’d love it if she would be happy without being held constantly so I could get anything done. My MIL says I’m spoiling her and not doing things right
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At What Age Should I Start Sleep Training My Baby
Experts recommend beginning sleep training when babies are 4 to 6 months old. This age range is the sweet spot, since babies are old enough to physically make it for six to eight hours overnight without needing to eat but arent quite at the point where the comforting you provide has become a sleep association.
Strategy #6 Remain As Calm And Relaxed As Possible About The Sleep Issue
If you are frustrated and angry when you deal with your child in the night, your child will inevitably pick up your vibes, even if youre trying hard to hide your feelings.Accepting the fact that some babies take a little longer to learn the sleep ropes and feeling confident that you can solve your childs sleep problems will make it easier to cope with the middle-of-the-night sleep interruptions.Scientific studies have shown that parents who have realistic expectations about parenthood and who feel confident in their own abilities to handle parenting difficulties find it easier to handle sleep challenges.
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Tips On Letting Baby Cry It Out
While it might seem hard to believe, crying it out is most likely much harder on you than it is on your baby.
Before you get started, make sure that babys not napping too much or too little during the day, since overtired babies have a harder time falling and staying asleep.
Youll also need to establish a bedtime routine that doesnt involve feeding or rocking to fall asleep.
Ready to try the CIO method? Here’s how:
You’re going to have a rough couple of nights as you listen to your baby wail. But remember this as you’re sitting outside her door, thinking you’re the worst parent in the world: Crying wont hurt your baby in the long run. Ultimately if you can stand it you’re doing your baby a favor by helping her learn to fall asleep on her own.
How The Cio Method Works
How you go about CIO depends on your babys age, the philosophy you follow, and your sleep expectations. Theres no one-size-fits-all approach, and what works for one baby or family may very well not work for another.
Before sleep training using CIO, you may want to speak with your childs pediatrician to get clarification on how much your baby should be sleeping at night for their age, whether or not they need a night feed, and any other concerns you might have.
Heres a sample way to start CIO:
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Sleep Training: How Long To Let Baby Cry
Youll get unsolicited advice from everyone when youre a parent. Often, the advice you receive from one person will contradict the advice you receive from another. Especially when youre trying to sleep train your baby. For example, if you console your baby as soon as they cry, some will say that youre spoiling them. But, if you let your baby cry for any amount of time, others will say that it is cruel. So, how long should you let your baby cry?
How long to let your baby cry during sleep training depends on their age and your comfort level. Newborn babies should never be allowed to cry it out. You can let older babies cry for as long as you feel comfortable. And letting babies older than 12-18 months cry it out becomes ineffective.
Not Sure About How Long To Let A Particular Cry Go
Sometimes, your baby will surprise you with a new cry.
When you arent sure what a particular cry means, its okay to guess or get help. Theres no rule about how long you have to let a baby with a new cry go.
In fact, it may be a good idea to check the babys basic needs and make sure theyre safe. Check their diaper, offer them milk, see if theyre tired. Go through all of the usual needs and see if any of those were what your baby wanted.
Hopefully, thatll help and the weird new cry will stop. Sometimes you may have to go through things a couple of time. Maybe its just a hard poop thats surprised your baby and it takes a while for that to resolve.
Trust your instinct and do what feels right. It can be tempting to trust a book or the internet as the be-all, end-all expert. But its not the case you are your babys advocate and expert.
So if a particular cry is new or worrisome, go with that gut feeling. Contact your pediatrician if you need to. Just remember that you are the best resource on your child.
If its a weird new cry while sleep training, dont feel bad about checking it. Worst case scenario, your child is just mad and checking on them resets the clock for how long theyll cry.
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How Do I Teach My Baby To Fall Asleep On His Own
Teaching Your Baby to Put Himself to SleepWake your baby when you put her down to sleep.
Begin to break the association between nursing/eating/sucking and sleep.
Help your little one learn to fall asleep lying still .
Help your little one learn to fall asleep in his bed.
Touch instead of holding, in her bed..
What Can Help A Crying Baby
You can’t spoil your baby with too much attention. To soothe a crying baby:
- First, make sure your baby doesn’t have a fever. In a baby, a fever is a temperature of 100.4°F . Call the doctor right away if your baby does have a fever.
- Make sure your baby isn’t hungry and has a clean diaper.
- Rock or walk with the baby.
- Sing or talk to your baby.
- Offer the baby a pacifier.
- Take the baby for a ride in a stroller.
- Hold your baby close against your body and take calm, slow breaths.
- Give the baby a warm bath.
- Pat or rub the baby’s back.
- Place your baby across your lap on his or her belly and rub your baby’s back.
- Put your baby in a swing or vibrating seat. The motion may be soothing.
- Put your baby in an infant car seat in the back of the car and go for a ride. Often, the vibration and movement of the car are calming.
- Play music some babies respond to sound as well as movement.
Some babies need less stimulation. Babies 2 months and younger may do well swaddled, lying on their back in the crib with the lights very dim or dark. Make sure the swaddle isn’t too tight. Stop swaddling when the baby is starting to be able to roll over.
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Letting Your Child Cry It Out At Naptime Is Totally Different Than Bedtime
In my research and experience, sleep training during the night and doing so for naps? Its two completely separate events.
So if youre nap training your child with a version of cry it out, its okay to have a completely different set of rules especially for how long you let them cry.
For us, we found that letting our children cry for an hour at naptime had zero effect except to leave us all frazzled and exhausted. Instead, I had to implement a 10-minute max to the crying time. After 10 minutes, a crying baby was gotten up and wed try the nap again later.
Ive talked to other parents who were able to get a crying child to nap even after a longer period of crying.
In other words, theres still no time limit as to how long your child can cry it out at naptimes. Just remember that its different than bedtime and thats okay.